How to customize a leggings pattern to add a lining for girls’ or women’s swim shorts.
Honestly, I don’t really swim anymore. I used to swim! I used to love swimming. The water just doesn’t feel that good anymore. But my kids have finally gotten to the stage where they LOVE to swim. So I should probably have something I can wear in the water just in case, but still feel good out of the water without hiding under a coverup. I have a suit that was perfect when I got it at Costco, but that was probably about eight years ago now! So, with my new found love of sewing knits, I am making myself a new suit. I bought enough of this material, it’s quite possible a girl or two and a doll or three will get one as well.
So in this post, I’m going to address how I modified a leggings pattern to make my swim shorts lined. I got this idea from my daughter’s new suit. You’re going to want a lining in swim shorts. Not only for the color, but the extra layer of fabric will help prevent the crotch seam from creeping up . Sure, you could just stack the two fabrics together, but this looks much more professional, and the seams are nicely hidden and not jabbing into your skin.
I chose the Jocole Ladies’ Basic Leggings to make these shorts. I’ve already made leggings with them, I know they fit well, and they’re exactly the style I want for this. These are great because they are well written, fit well, come in a wide range of sizes, and are infinitely customized. My first pair was a bamboo knit mid-length short, and I made a large because it wasn’t as stretchy a material. I chose to make my black capris here in a medium due to the fabric’s stretch and the shape I wanted. My swim shorts I also chose a medium. I want these to have a close fit and not slip around when I wear them.
To make these shorts lined, I altered the original steps slightly. Here’s how I did it.
1. Fold main fabric right sides together and lay out pattern to cut. Ensure grainlines are correct, pay attention to the fabric’s direction as needed. Cut out pattern. (I weighed down the pattern with various rolls of duct tape first. That’s just what was handy. Rocks, cans, and the like are also good pattern weights when cutting knits.)
2. Double up lining right sides together and cut out. Yeah, wrinkles in my fabric. I’m a lazy sewer.
3. Keep fabrics stacked and separately sew four crotch seams, front and back, main fabric and lining. Go easy on the curves!
3a. Here is what your main fabric looks like…
3b. …and here’s the lining.
4. Refold each layer to match crotch seams at the middle; pin inner leg seams. Keep both layers right sides together. Stack in this order from the bottom to the top: Main fabric back, main front, lining front, and end with lining back on top.
5. Stack seams carefully and repin, careful to catch all four layers evenly. Match two crotch seams as evenly as possible. Alternating direction of seam allowances helps to reduce bulk.
6. Seam that baby up! I went slowly and cautiously to ensure I didn’t have to rip and redo. Take care over middle seam. I actually reduced my stitch to go a bit shorter right in the middle for additional strength.
6a. Here’s the finished inner leg seam from the inside.
7. Flip the lining right side out and over the main fabric, bringing the two backs together. Here’s what that inner leg seam looks like now! Ooh! Aah! (OK, it didn’t match perfectly. Big deal.)
8. Match up those front and back center seams, smooth everything out, and you’re on your way! Just finish out the rest as desired. Hem as per directions, make the waistband as desired.
Here are my completed shorts! My waistband became a crossover yoga style. I thought it would be easy but supportive on the belly. I also plan on doing a crossover style on the top, so the waist goes with the theme. Finished them off by topstitching around the bottom of the waistband. On the legs, I chose to serge around the two layers first, then fold over and top stitch with a double needle. Coverstitch machine, you are on my wishlist. <3 Now to get going on that top! The poolside is calling me.